Start with the ending

In addition to being one of my favorite David Wilcox songs, this is also how I feel about any big project.  Mission statements are important because they serve as a roadmap to where you want to go.  Our school garden has had one for a long time, and I return to it all the time, but just yesterday we finished a project to have it printed on a sign and hung in the garden for all to see.





And just in time for this Saturday’s 2nd Annual Julian Garden Tour!  If you’re in Southern California, consider coming up for the day.  Seven gardens are on display, including the school garden, from 10-4.  Tickets, which are the maps to and the descriptions of the gardens, are $20 and can be bought at Town Hall on Main Street or Julian Elementary on the day of the event.  All proceeds benefit the district’s Farm to School efforts.

Thank you to Leslie and Brian at Wet Duck Design for creating and installing our sign!



Love me a good mission statement

In my role as “school garden consultant” through Master Gardeners, I am now working with three schools.  The school I met with recently in San Diego is just starting off with their project, and I am excited because they have all of the ingredients for an amazing garden: a supportive principal, a passionate lead teacher, other interested teachers, potential community partners, possible funding and an amazing space (Flat, sunny, with water!  Oh my!)


As y’all know, good projects start with a mission statement.  Some people find this part of the process tedious and kinda academic, but not me. How do you know what to do if you don’t know where you want to end up?  As such, I like the process of writing out objectives.  It helps keep me on track, sort our priorities, and assess progress.

Here is ours.  We are in process of having an artist transfer this to a large sign for the garden, reminding us all of what we’re growing…

What we grow in the Julian Elementary Character Garden

We grow food.

We promote good nutrition by planting, tending, harvesting and eating organic fruit, vegetables and herbs.

We grow citizens.

We connect children to the natural world and create environmental stewards.

We grow character.

We learn leadership, responsibility, and respect when we work in the garden.

We grow practical gardening skills.

We learn the nuts and bolts of growing a garden.

We grow beauty.

We enjoy our peaceful, beautiful garden as it relaxes our bodies, inspires our minds, and ignites our creativity and imagination.

We grow academics.

We study biology, ecology and natural history in our garden classroom.

We grow stories. 

We develop a “sense of place” as we build a garden that reflects who we are as individuals, as a school and as residents of Julian and the backcountry.

We grow community.

We  create positive relationships among students, staff, parents and neighbors when we work together.